Readers Write: Light Rail Extension, Housing, I-94 Land Bridge Proposal

Review Editor’s Note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters readers online and in print every day. To contribute, click here.

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Here we go again! (“New Route Proposed for Blue Line Train,” April 19.) Subway Taxpayers, Beware! When will we learn?

“The Metro Blue Line Extension is a critical part of our region’s transit infrastructure,” Metropolitan Council Chairman Charlie Zelle said in the article.

And later: “Planning for the Blue Line comes as the Met Council faces intense scrutiny over the construction of the south-west light rail line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. The project has been beset by cost overruns and prompted lawmakers to vote for the Legislative Auditor’s Office to review the troubled project.” Don’t forget the taxpayers: The largest infrastructure project in Minnesota’s history came with significant cost overruns, with as yet unknown limits to those overruns. How can we expect better results this time around, if we haven’t even audited the last debacle to find out how it happened? The same blatantly incompetent Met Council is still in charge.

Zelle is also quoted in the same article as follows: “The road is not without challenges, but I sincerely believe that they are not insurmountable.” But at what new cost(s) beyond the planned $1.5 billion?

Can’t we wait to clean up the messes of the Southwest first?

Dennis Sellke, Minnetonka

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Finally a rational approach to public transport. Blue Line planners see the light: put transit where the people are. It’s too late for the Southwest Light Rail. They enter the road through high-value lake districts with low population density and high water tables. Regardless of the skyrocketing construction costs in this neighborhood, it didn’t make sense demographically.

Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park

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At a time when disregard for scientific fact may seem acceptable (the election was stolen, global warming is a natural event, etc.), experts can help because they are trained to look for bias.

One example: Residents of Cedar Isles Condominiums predicted their homes would be damaged by light rail construction and now reject a respected engineering firm’s conclusion that cracks in their buildings (grain silos concrete floors) were mainly caused by thermal expansion and contraction. (“Time Called Leading Cause of Cracks in Condos,” April 14). Maybe they are right and the experts are wrong, but considering the role of bias is an essential part of uncovering the truth.

Richard Adair, Minneapolis

LODGING

Kudos to the editors of the Star Tribune for publishing an article on a beautiful and affordable home (“St. Paul’s remodeled farmhouse ‘may be best home under $300,000′”, April 18). Let’s see them more often.

James M. Hamilton, St. Paul

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One thing I’ve noticed about the Strib’s real estate coverage is the relentless focus on high-end and luxury markets that often leave us behind, especially in Metro North. Classism is alive and well.

To be honest, we’re tired of being ignored while having so much to offer. Not only is housing reasonably priced with a wide variety of housing values ​​and types, but the commercial industry and school systems are well thought out, well balanced and well respected. Both public and private schools are highly rated and accommodating to all students.

The northern metro is home to successful businesses, banks, real estate agencies, engineering firms, and innovative medical endeavors. Retail outlets and restaurants are abundant. Oh, and did I mention the phenomenal park systems like Elm Creek Park, Rice Creek Watershed, and Coon Rapids Dam? Bunker Hills Regional Park has bike paths, walking trails, a stable, a gigantic water park and a wave pool. Golf courses and vineyards are all part of the growing landscape. Recreational lakes are also abundant.

The Blaine National Sports Center attracts players locally and from around the world. Participation in sports is important here. The theater too. The Lyric Arts Theater in downtown Anoka has a national reputation. The Franconian Sculpture Park is a fantastic experience nestled among fields and pine trees.

The attitude in the North Metro is relaxed and respectful; no matter who you are or what you do for a living. No one is better than someone else.

We are not just a “drive-thru country”. Yes, we pride ourselves on our location, location, location!

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

DEVELOPMENT

I was surprised that advocates of the Interstate 94 land bridge called opponents “racism,” because I just don’t know how this project produces racial justice (“Republicans Seek to Forfeit Bridge Funding land of Rondo”, April 14). For example, when the City of Stillwater promoted the $600 million St. Croix crossing, it said it would reduce traffic in downtown Stillwater. It was easy for me to grasp the mechanical link between the removal of a freeway from the city center and the reduction of traffic. As for the land bridge, I did my best to frame my skepticism with the points below.

  1. Many articles promoting the land bridge indicate that 700 families lost their homes during the construction of I-94. Please explain the mechanical connection between building a land bridge over these ancient homes and racial justice.
  2. Many articles covering other developments in low-income neighborhoods in the Twin Cities often express concerns about gentrification. These include projects such as the Central Corridor light rail transit and the North Minneapolis Greenway. Please explain how the land bridge will avoid the pitfalls of gentrification.
  3. Finally, Advocates offer a vision of an arts and business district producing racial justice. However, when I walk around new commercial buildings, I see Starbucks coffee shops, T-Mobile stores, and dentist offices. While surveying Lyndale Avenue in South Minneapolis, I see a business district with many independent stores. It’s for the simple fact that rents in new commercial space are more expensive than rents in 70-year-old commercial buildings. Please explain how this project is producing new affordable commercial space.

I may sound like a supposed “racist”, but trust me, I just don’t see the mechanical connection between this project and racial justice.

Ronald Hobson, St. Louis Park

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My wife and I are getting to the age where we are starting to think about moving into the “perfect” senior housing. For years I wondered why no one had built a self-contained, assisted living facility attached to the Mall of America. It’s the perfect location: walking, shopping and socializing in winter would be ice-free and wheelchair accessible, and with a potpourri of shops and restaurants, one could stay active for hours. Want nature? How about the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge across the street with its 45 miles of trails? Want to get out of town? The airport is across the street in the other direction. Grandchildren want to visit? How about taking them on a hike and then hitting the water park? Oh, and did I mention the light rail, if you fancy going downtown for a change of location? What could be better?

Rod Martel, Minneapolis

Jose P. Rogers